Chief, fetish priestess clash over mining site …Youth resist galamsey in Dwenewoho enclave

Nana Sarfo Kantanka Appiah, the chief of Akropong, in the Nwabiagya South District, has allegedly stopped the operations of Nana Akosua Konadu, a fetish priestess at Dwenewoho, in the Ahafo Ano South West District of Ashanti Region.

Deserted Asikasu shrine

The chief summoned the priestess to his Palace recently and ordered her to move out from the area because she is not an indigene.

Nana Sarfo Kantanka Appiah reportedly told the fetish priestess, in the presence of Nana Twumasi Ampofo, the Odikro of Dwenewoho community, that she has no right to stand in the way of miners in the area.

Nana Twumasi Ampofo, the Odikro of Dwenewoho community, however, told this reporter that, contrary to the information made available to The Chronicle, he was not present when Nana Kantaka allegedly told the fetish priestess that she could not stand in the way of mining in the area.

Nana Konadu’s shrine was later attacked and destroyed by illegal miners, including three Chinese nationals,to prevent her from operating as a fetish priestess in the community.

The Akroponghene has also asked the fetish priestess not to lodge any complaint about the attack on her shrine, and she must not go against his decision in her own interest.

The Asikasu river at Dwenewoho

There have been destruction of farmlands and river bodies due to illegal mining in the area. River Asikasuand River Betinkohave become polluted and dry due to their beds been dug out by excavators. This causes flooding after the slightest downpour.

Nana Akosua Konadu is yet to lodge a complaint with the Union of Fetish Priests and Priestesses, headed by Alhaji Abass, after which Otumfuo’s Nsumankwahene would be notified about the conduct of the Akroponghene and his agents.

The development has incensed the youth of Dwenewoho, who kicked against proposals of DwenewohoOdikro, alias Kofi Jeff, a fortnight ago, to allow mining in the area to aid the community’s development.

Kofi Asante, a native of Dwenewoho, during a meeting with the stool elders of Dwenewoho said the youth expressed anger over the complicity of the chiefs in the operations of illegal mining at the expense of development of the area.

They realised that the Odikro, who had convened the meeting, wanted to mine in the area,under the pretext that he wants to reclaim mined areas.

Even though the meeting ended in a stalemate, as the youth questioned his motive, excavators have already been deployed to the area.

One Kofi Owusu of Anyemsemkrom complained that he had once been summoned before the Akroponghene and accused of interfering with exploration and operations of illegal miners in the area.

The youth have, therefore, appealed to the government and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to intervene and stop the chiefs behind illegal mining in the Dwenewoho area, saying galamsey is not in the best interest of the youth and, therefore, not beneficial in any way.

Meanwhile, Nana Sarfo Kantanka Appiah, the Akroponghene, has not returned calls to his cell phone for his reaction to the complaints. He has also not responded to smstext and WhatsApp messages sent to him.

Nana Twumase Ampofo, the Odikro, through whom the Akroponghene, his overlord, invited the priestess, has denied ever meeting the priestess at the Akropong Palace.

When pressed further, he declined to comment until he knows the source of our information.

In September last year, Nana Twumasi Ampofo, while responding to allegations, told The Chronicle on tape that in consultation with his elders and his overlord, theAkropong chief, he allocated a one acre parcel of land to the youth for mining, after the youth had approached him for a concession.

Mining activities near the Shrine

According to him, he consented to the request by the youth because thegovernment is not against mining, if it is done responsibly.

He said his position is to help create employment and decent livelihood for the youth.

Nana Twumasi Ampofo explained that the one acre land released is for the purposes of prospecting for minerals so that the community could engage experts to do responsible mining under a community mining project, to avoid influx of illegal miners in the area and promising to reclaim the mined areas.


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